Monday, October 31, 2011

The Blair Academy in New Jersey Wrestling Team's It Gets Better Video, and Athlete Ally... Now what about YOUR school's teams?

Happy Halloween! 

In keeping with the American tradition of trick or treating (kids dressing up in costumes and going door to door to collect candy...) this post is divided up into one trick and one treat.

First, the treat:

Check out this amazing (and under one minute) It Gets Better Video, by the wrestling team at Blair Academy:

And Athlete Ally (started by Hudson Taylor) has a pledge on their home page:

I pledge to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Beginning right now, I will do my part to promote the best of athletics by making all players feel respected on and off the field.

I think that's pretty amazing. 

Then, the trick:

Here's a video of Hudson doing a crazy-impressive card trick!

Now, the changing our world for the better:

So how about it?  What about YOUR sports teams at your school?  Can you and your GSA club team up with them and encourage them to sign this pledge?  Can they make an It Gets Better video?

Hudson and these athletes at Blair are leading the way, and making things better.

Let's join them!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Rachel Maddow and the blog Good As You catch the anti-gay marriage campaign FAKING support in New Hampshire

Check this video out, it's outrageous:

And get this, at the Good As You blog, they show how after two days the anti-gay marriage organization took down the fake anti-gay rights photo Rachel showed above and replaced it with... wait for it... a photo from the New York City march against gay marriage. Um, still not actually showing support in New Hampshire for taking away gay people's right to marry.

It's so important for us to be savvy consumers of media and advertising, and this story really highlights how critical it is to have reporters and bloggers and the media as watchdogs to catch these kinds of tricks and expose them.

I love how Rachel says "Caught You!" at the end.

Yeah. We sure did.


ps- thanks to Kathryn for the heads-up about this!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good News! I'm the new Captain of Team Blog and the new official Blogger for SCBWI!

I'm very excited to finally announce that the organization I adore so much, the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), is now an even bigger part of my journey, as I am part of theirs!

As of ten minutes ago my first post as their new official blogger is up at the newly re-designed SCBWI: THE BLOG.

Don't fear - I'll still be blogging here daily Monday through Friday, 50 weeks a year!

Blogging for SCBWI will let me do more and blog more in the world of children's literature, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity!

I hope you continue to share the adventure...


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gender 101, episode #15: transsexual, transgender, and drag queen/drag king

Join me for episode #15 - where Lucy defines and distinguishes between the terms "Transsexual," "Transgender," "Drag King" and "Drag Queen."

The movie Lucy mentions is "Paris is Burning" - I watched it years ago, and remember it being fascinating and really entertaining.  

As always with these discussions, I learned so much.  And I'm delighted to share these videos with all of you.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Pop-It" by Raghava KK - an ipad picture book app I wish I'd had when I was a child

Check out this great TED talk that's less than 5 minutes:

It's how I heard about "Pop-It" - a charming non-narrative word-less app for the youngest kids (pre-school, really) that shows a family potty training, looking in a mirror, changing a diaper, at bath and play time. There are fun things readers can do by touching the screen - make the parent giggle, have the child make a silly face, have a baby elephant tiptoe out from behind a chair. The sound effects are a nice element, and they compliment the quirky illustrations.

But the real power of this picture book app is what happens when you shake the entire ipad. The two dad family becomes a two mom family. And then the two mom family becomes a one-mom-one-dad family. And then that one-mom-and-one-dad family becomes a two dad family again!

The story starts out showing the child with two dads

Shake the ipad, and the two dads transform to two moms!

That shift of perspective, and it's thematic message that love (and potty training, etc...) is the same in all kinds of families, is mind-blowing in both its simplicity and power.

I'm really excited about this picture book app, and I wish I'd had it to read and shake and read and shake when I was a little kid.

My thanks to Sarinah for letting me know about this, so I could share it with all of you!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Samuel comes out about the conversion therapy he faced at the hands of his own parents

It's pretty harrowing:


The father beating him.

The lies about how he was the last gay person in the country (the government had tracked down and killed the rest) and if they found him they'd kill him, too.

The moment with his mother on the roof - "I'll love you again if you change."

It's so sad that his parents can't accept their child for who he authentically is. As Samuel says,

"I can't change what I never chose."


And that's the choice - not to be gay or not be gay, but if you are gay you choice is that you can either lie, or be authentic.

Kudos to Samuel for being authentic, and for telling his story to help let others know they're not alone.

This video was posted as part of the I'm From Driftwood project.

We have much still to do.


Friday, October 21, 2011

"Shine" by Lauren Myracle... It's not a National Book Award Finalist after all, but maybe it can be a best-seller

By Lauren Myracle

Cat is 16 when her best friend Patrick, a gay 17 year old, is murdered.  And now she's determined to discover who in her small Southern town did it.

"...a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery."

"Shine" is very much in the news because last week it was announced as one of the five young adult novel finalists for the National Book Award.  And then, it was revealed that it was mistakenly short-listed, because it's title, Shine, is so close to the actual fifth book on the list of finalists, Chime, by Franny Billingsley.  So then they said that Lauren's book could stay on the list of finalists due to the book's merit, and there would be six finalists (but "Shine" clearly wouldn't be the winner.)  And then later last week, they contacted the author and asked her to withdraw her book from the competetion, "to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges' work."  Wow - so poorly handled.

You can read more about the events and hear Lauren's incredibly gracious take on the whole mess in this Vanity Fair article.

The only two good things I can share to come out of this? 

The National Book Foundation "has agreed to donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation." (I suppose this is their apology to those of us who felt the subject matter of anti-gay hate crimes shouldn't be dissed in this way.)

And the other good thing is that "Shine" is getting a lot of attention.  So maybe it won't win the National Book Award.  But I think it has a pretty good chance of becoming a best seller.

What do you think?  And add your review of "Shine" in comments!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today is Spirit Day - Wear Purple to support LGBTQ Youth!

Millions of Americans wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. Getting involved is easy -- participants are asked to simply "go purple" on October 20.

Here's more info on Spirit Day from the folks at GLAAD.

And remember, if you or someone you know is in crisis, there's someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 days in leap year) at the Trevor Project lifeline, 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).

It does get better - you get stronger, and our world is changing. And one way things are getting better is that days like this happen.

So wear purple with me, won't you?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gender 101, Episode #14:

So this past weekend I did my Smashing Stereotypes workshop at the Los Angeles Models of Pride conference, the largest queer and allied youth conference ever - with over 1,100 young people attending, and separate tracks for parents and educators.  My workshop went great - overflowing the seats available, and we all had a great shared experience.

It was an amazing day (I kept thinking how this would have rocked my world when I was a teen) - and at the lunchtime resource fair, I ran into a good friend: is a super resource.

One of my favorite quotes of the genderfork readers I didn't grab an in-focus photo of read:

"I decided that my gender is 'dragon.'  I mean, it's 'technically' genderqueer but I have dubbed my own personal flavour as 'dragon.'  Because dragons make everything better, are awesome, and come in a whole boatload of varieties." - Anonymous

I'm so happy to learn more about genderfork, and to share that info with you!

Thanks, Benji!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sex, Gender and Bathroom Signs - a fascinating article to check out

This post over at The Society Pages' Sociological Images was so interesting!

It looks at different bathroom signs across the world (with lots of photos!) and analyzes what's going on - the confusion between sex and gender,

the assumed universality of men (that they can represent "mankind") and the presumed lesser value of women (they they can only represent other women)

Where men are men and women are 'wo' -  This makes me want to spell 'women' as 'womyn!'

and most of all, that looking at how washroom signs segregate people who need to pee can be a window into how societies construct gender.

Stereotype Jackpot: The 'girl' image is thinking about shopping, and the 'boy' image is thinking about football. 

It's very thought-provoking.  I encourage you to check it out!


ps - My thanks to Sara Ryan for sharing this!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Resource Link-A-Palooza! (Links and Resources from my SAFE SPACE Assemblies)

That's me, talking about "SAFE SPACE: Ending Anti-Gay Bullying in our Culture... and at YOUR School" on Wednesday of this week, up in Oregon at Corvallis High School

The last two weeks have been packed with speaking visits, including giving my Smashing Stereotypes workshops to the entire sixth grade at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, sharing an Empowering Diversity session with the Los Angeles Independent School Counselors, and flying up to Corvallis, Oregon to do my “SAFE SPACE: Ending Anti-Gay Bullying in our Culture… and at YOUR School” program four times – once at the amazing Corvallis Benton County Public Library and a full day of three packed presentations to students at the Corvallis High School’s Black Box Theater …I also met with two different groups of teens at the library, hung out with the coolest of librarians and GSA Advisors, and even had lunch with students from Corvallis High’s GSA.
I’ll blog separately about my trip to Corvallis, but for now let me share what I promised in my talks – links to the many, many, many resources I shared.

For those of you who weren’t at one of these presentations, there’s still lots of great stuff here for you to browse. And if you want to get a taste of what my presentations are like, you can go here to see video highlights of both my Smashing Stereotypes Workshop and My SAFE SPACE Assembly. And/or, you can have your school, library or group contact me and we’ll see if I can bring my programs to you… If that’s the case, please email me at iamleewind (at) gmail (dot) com.

And now, without too much further ado, here are some links and resources I shared:

The Chimamanda Adichie TED Talk on the danger of stereotypes being a single story.

The quote by Holocaust Survivor Martin Niemoller

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

-Martin Niemoller

Hug of Shame 1

Hug of Shame 2

Hazing in Pro Baseball

Oregon's Constitutional Amendment 5a

HB 2599 – Oregon Safe Schools Act

Basic Rights Oregon

PFLAG Oregon

The picture book “King and King”by Linda de Haan & Stern Nijland is the picture book about two princes falling in love that was used in the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 commerical.

The Most Dangerous Book In America, “And Tango Makes Three

Harvey Milk speech

The two wonderful films about Harvey Milk that I mentioned are The Times Of Harvey Milk, a documentary that won the Academy Award (for best documentary) back in 1984. And Milk, a 2008 biopic that won two Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor (Sean Penn as Milk.)

The Corvallis Benton County Public Library has amazing librarians and a great website (check out their url: !)  with super lists of books for teens.  Oh, and check out their LGBTQ Teen Graphic Novel/Manga list, too! is the site for the 31 Days. 31 Icons. October celebration of LGBT History.  I have lots more info on queer history on my blog here and here.

Facing History and Ourselves is the organization I mentioned that coined the term UPstanders.  They have lots of great resources and programs, and here’s their website.

The New York Times series on Coming Out  and the Salon series “Interview With My Bully” are fascinating reading.

I mentioned former NBA player John Amaechi's talk on prejudice and diversity - here are more of my notes from attending his presentation.

Here’s the abstract on the study published in “Pediatrics” on “The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth” that showed better outcomes for all students from a more queer-accepting environment. 

The Trevor Project runs a 24 hr crisis lifeline for GLBTQ and questioning youth – the lifeline is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, 1-866-488-7386 and their website is:

Some of my favorite “It Gets Better” videos are collected here: The project website and their pledge

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."

is at:

I'll just pull out two to share in this list:  My own It Gets Better video, and the "It Gets Better" - Broadway sings for the Trevor Project song  I shared at the end of my sessions.

Thanks for being such great audiences.  I hope each one of you chooses to be an UPstander - and then together we can change our world for the better!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Mortal Instruments Series - YA Fantasy with a Significant Gay Teen Character

By Cassandra Clare

Clary is 15 when she goes to the Pandemonium Club in New York City and witnesses a murder committed by three teens - Jace, Alec and Isabelle, who are covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air.

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

I really liked author Justine Larbalestier's blurb for it:
"City of Bones has everything: vampires, werewolves, faeries, true love, and stuff that blows up. What's more, Clare's characters are brilliant -- she better not kill any of them off in the next two volumes!"

And at the end of this first book, one of the significant characters is revealed to be gay. (More info on this in the spoiler section, below)

It's a series that's projected to be six books:

City of Bones (Book One) - the publisher's description is above

City of Ashes (Book Two)

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

City of Glass (Book Three)

Clary has to use all her ingenuity and newfound magical skills to get herself to the Glass City in Idris, the secretive Shadowhunters’ home country, where she is forbidden to go—for it is only there that she can find the cure to her mother’s enchanted sleeping sickness.

When Valentine attacks the city and destroys the demon towers, Clary and her allies are all who stand between him and the total annihilation of all Shadowhunters. Love is a mortal sin and the past tangles inextricably with the present as Clary and Jace face down their father in this third volume of The Mortal Instruments.

City of Fallen Angels (Book Four)

Who will be tempted by darkness? Who will fall in love, and who will find their relationship torn apart? And who will betray everything they ever believed in?

City of Lost Souls (Book Five) - to be published 5/1/12

City of Heavenly Fire (Book Six) - to be published 9/1/13

You can read the beginning of City of Bones, Book One here for free. And you can add your review of any and all books in the Mortal Instruments series in comments!

And as promised, here's the spoiler section of this post - with more info on the gay character. If you want to be surprised, don't read on until you've finished "City of Bones!"

On the Mortal Instruments website there's an interview with the author which includes this question, "Why did you decide to make Alec gay?"

Here's her answer:
Why did I decide to make Isabelle straight? I didn't go into writing Alec thinking "there must be a gay character in this story." As Alec's character evolved, I realized that he always seemed to be angry about something and that he seemed to dislike Clary more than made sense. That he was in love with Jace explained both things about him, and suddenly I understood his character better. Once I did, I knew I very much wanted it not to be the only character note about him. Alec is a good guy, a great friend, an excellent demon hunter, and has a terrible dress sense. He's just also gay.

I love her answer!

Enjoy the series,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gender 101, Episode #13: Presenting & Passing

Join me as I continue the conversation with Benji, my gender-variant friend, as we dive into the issues of "presenting" - as cis or trans or other, and "passing" - being perceived as non-queer when you are queer. We even play with the lexicon, minting some new words to describe love:

You can get those "Legalize Trans" t-shirts Benji mentioned here.

I'm learning so much from these discussions (I'd never even heard of Queer Femme before.) Fascinating stuff!

Thanks, Benji.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Coming Out Day 2011 - Standing Up For What We Know Is Right: A Guest Post By Martha Brockenbrough

In honor of National Coming Out Day this year, I want to focus on how important it is for our GLBTQ Allies to stand up, speak out and come out in support of what we know is the right thing to do. Sometimes that can be really challenging, especially in a culture steeped too long in homophobia and gender stereotypes. But when people do stand up, it is a joyous and remarkable thing.  The kind of thing that gives me hope, and powerfully changes our world for the better.

Below is a guest post by my friend, author and fellow SCBWI Team Blogger Martha Brockenbrough.

Her story inspired me... and I know it will inspire you, too.

Qui tacit consentit. Through silence, consent. I first encountered this expression in college and it struck a deep chord with me. It summarized that feeling I had in high school when the cool boys in the cafeteria were ragging on one of my friends for being gay. It also echoed what I’d learned much earlier, when reading “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

It resonates with all of us on some level. Why else would an expression in a dead language live on?

In the twenty years since I first met the words, I’ve tried to live by them. It’s sometimes harder than others. On Facebook when I post things in support of my gay, lesbian, transgendered and otherwise “other” friends, my own friend count goes down. Good riddance, I think. They were never my friends to begin with.

It’s a bit harder in real life. Do you speak your views at work? What about at your kids’ school, where they might suffer the consequences? My livelihood depends on my having readers. My kids’ success in life depends on their doing well in school.

And yet, the truth remains: through silence, consent.

So I start conversations, sometimes in person, and sometimes via emails like this one, which I wrote after watching a play put on by the kids in my daughter’s fourth-grade class:

That was so much fun and such a great way to celebrate what the kids have been studying. I was amazed at the risks the kids took on stage. They were so gutsy and it really worked.

There is one thing, though, that I've been continuing to think about all weekend, and that was [a particular student’s] tall tale. It was cute and clever, but the bulk of the humor relied on certain gender stereotypes. Boys aren't supposed to like dolls and flowers. It made me think of a boy in one of the lower grades who really loves playing with dolls and traditionally girl things, and how he has sometimes suffered as a result. Putting that on stage, in a way, legitimizes mocking kids who don't fit gender and possibly sexual identity norms. The resolution defied that somewhat, though it was more his size and less about his interests that drove the conclusion.

I'm sure this wasn't intentional on [the student’s] part. She defies a lot of stereotypes herself, and regularly has to defend her interest in cross-gender friendships. I think it's more a symptom that the kids know what's funny--and to a certain extent at this age, funny = making fun of differences.

I wouldn't have changed a thing about the roundup. It was truly brilliant.

But it might indicate the kids are ready to examine certain types of humor. What makes something "funny" can often be quite hurtful when stereotypes are at the heart of things. It's nothing new. Aeschylus made fun of the disabled in his plays--that was standard. There are alternative forms of humor, though. The kids might enjoy learning about them, and it might save some truly vulnerable children a bit of pain.

I sent the email to both fourth grade teachers and waited in vain for a response. They didn’t acknowledge the email. They did not speak to me about it on the class overnight the next week. They haven’t spoken to me about it in the times we’ve run into each other at the store or at community events. It’s as if I’d never spoken up, as if what I have to say doesn’t matter.

This is, I know, a taste of what it’s like to belong to a minority group. There’s a certain kind of unpleasant invisibility—the feeling that the contents of your heart aren’t important enough to be acknowledged. There’s a definite message that you should be silent. Go along or shut up.

It was a disappointing experience, to say the least, and one that made me that much more sympathetic to the people who are always being asked to keep themselves and their lives hidden away.

I don’t belong to any particular minority group myself. I’m a middle-aged, middle-class mom with two kids and two dogs. I’m a Y-chromosome away from being The Man, actually. This makes it all the more important that the likes of us speak up. The more we do, the harder it will be for people to keep silencing and marginalizing people who aren’t in the majority. I can’t control whether anyone listens to what I say, but I surely don’t have to consent to the mistreatment of my fellow human beings.

Ultimately, we took both of our children out of that school, not because there was anything wrong with the classroom education they were receiving, but rather, because the culture permitted rampant unkindness, including the mocking of people based on their differences.

It wasn’t the school’s official position, of course. But it was the one people slouched toward, because it takes more time and energy to stick to standards than it does to shrug off or ignore bad behavior. It's uncomfortable, and people would rather avoid their own discomfort than acknowledge the far deeper pain of others.

Our departure won’t change the school in any way, I’m sure. But that’s beyond my control. It always was. The more important thing was that I didn’t let the school change me. I did not consent to anything I knew to be wrong. In the process, I’ve shown my kids there are always other choices than to consent—and that the world, instead of getting smaller for what you’ve left behind—expands accordingly.

What an amazing woman - I'm really proud to know her. Thank you Martha!

And f you're considering coming out, the Human Rights Campaign has a lot of online resources to help. (And yes, they even have a guide for straight supporters!)

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Help The Students at Sequoyah High School In Tennessee Get A GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance Club) And Feel Safer!

Chris wore this t-shirt to support his sister and to try and get a GSA club at their high school.

Here's what happened.

When several students at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Tennessee tried to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club after years of bullying, their principal said no. When the students circulated a petition and gathered 150 student signatures supporting the club, the principal banned petitions. When this brought local media scrutiny and the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the administration blocked the club based on its failure to secure an advisor. Although the students found teachers who seemed supportive and willing to serve as advisers, all eventually withdrew without explanation.

Now, according to the ACLU, Principal Moser has allegedly assaulted one student, Chris Sigler, for wearing a handmade shirt that read “GSA: We’ve got your back” – grabbing his arm and chest-bumping him while asking “Who’s the big man now?”

Despite the complaint filed by Chris and his mother, the Sheriff’s Department has failed to interview his sister, who witnessed the alleged assault, or his mother, who witnessed additional behavior from the principal.

And the students at Sequoyah High don't have a GSA. Yet.

Want to help?

You can sign a joint petition by the Tennessee Equality Project and Gay-Straight Alliance Network’s Make It Better Project that demands

that the Sheriff’s Department fully investigate this incident, and further, that Monroe County Schools approve the GSA, state that teachers who agree to advise the GSA will not face repercussions (as demanded by the TN ACLU), and address the hostile environment that LGBTQ students face at Sequoyah.

You can also send a letter to Director of Schools Mike Lowry from the ACLU website - and customize it with your own words. (My own take on that: be courteous but firm.)

You can find out more here at the ACLU site and sign the petition here at

This is a great reminder of how we have to stand up for others... and let's help the GLBTQ and Allied students at Sequoyah High School get a GSA and feel safer!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Shocking. Stunning. A Must-Watch. "A Class Divided"

This documentary blew me away.

A third grade teacher, Jane Elliot, decided to do a two-day experiment with her students starting in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dividing them up by eye color. The first day, she told them that blue-eyed children are nicer, smarter, and better than the brown-eyed children. The second day, she switched it, saying that she was mistaken, it was actually brown-eyed children who are nicer, smarter and better than the blue-eyed children.

The results (socially, academically, and in self-esteem) are astonishing.

It's 55 minutes long, and so worth it. Click here to get to the free documentary website, and get ready to see the inner workings of prejudice, exposed:

A Class Divided

And once you've seen it, let me know what you think.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nominations are open for the 2011 Cybils!

The Cybils are the Children's and Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards, and the nominations for their 2011 awards are open until Oct 15, 2011.

Get the form and enter in your favorite book for each genre here.

I had the honor of being a judge a few years ago, and let me tell you - the competition is fierce and the judges are all passionate about selecting the absolute best books! 

And this year they've added Book Apps as a category...

So head on over and do some nominating!


ps - my thanks to Margo at the Fourth Musketeer for her post about this, which reminded me to let all of you know, too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Richard Jesse Watson on the Power of Illustrators To Portray Diversity of Gender

One of the best things about my position in the world of Children's Literature is getting to talk about how sexuality and gender get expressed in children's books. At the recent KidLitCon 2011, I had a chance to talk with the amazing author/illustrator Richard Jesse Watson, and he told me about how he approached the gender of an angel in his illustrations for "The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake," written by Nancy Willard.

Richard's gender-neutral portrayal of the angel definitely puts this picture book in my 'Picture Books I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid" list of favorites - and I found his take on how an illustrator can portray diversity - including diversity of gender - really empowering.

I hope you find the story behind the story - and the power all illustrators have - to be inspirational as well!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Voter Referendum FRAUD to Stop California's new law to finally teach LGBTQ history

Here's what you need to know:

"The FAIR Education Act requires California schools to take a fair approach by integrating age-appropriate, factual information about social movements, current events and the contributions of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders into existing history and social studies lessons that already include contributions of both men and women, people of color, diverse ethnic communities and other historically underrepresented groups.

The FAIR Education Act was signed into law on July 14, 2011. Just one day later, opponents of equality filed paperwork to place a referendum on the June 2012 ballot to overturn it. They have until October 12 to collect the more than 500,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot."

and this:

"Who decides what students will learn?
Lessons required under the FAIR Education Act must be age-appropriate and will be developed at the local level, where school districts will decide what's appropriate for each classroom based on parent and teacher input."

Now watch how some of those signatures to repeal the FAIR Education Act are being collected - it's an outrage:

My thanks to Max Disposti of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center for taking this video, and to Equality California for getting the word out on the misleading tactics being used to repeal the law that says that gay history shouldn't be erased.

And if my local California school district is looking for factual information about the contributions of queer people so they can start being fair about teaching history, it would be great if when they're teaching about Alexander the Great, they could mention that Hephaestion was not just his male 'best friend' - but that they were two men in love. If you're going to teach that Alexander the Great married Roxane because he loved her, you should also teach that he loved Hephaestion! (Interested? I've got lots more LGBTQ history here.)

So watch out for this kind of voter fraud - and hopefully we can get our queer stories included in the history and social studies lessons that students learn.


Monday, October 3, 2011

October is LGBT History Month!

Love this!

I knew 20 out of 31. How about you?

There will be daily video updates for every day of October, so keep checking back here or at the 31 Days, 31 Icons LGBT History Month website!)

Lots of our queer history to celebrate!